Take that, other Western banks — Citigroup will be the first one to issue credit cards under its own brand in mainland China after the China Regulatory Commission granted their approval. It’s coup for Citi, and now they can brag about it to all their credit card company frenemies.
The Financial Times says China is slowly getting used to the idea of using credit cards — right now there are around 268 million cards, issued by the Chinese central bank, but that doesn’t mean those cards are all being used.
Consumers in China are starting to get into credit cards, as the country improves processing procedures and more merchants get onboard with accepting them. Right now there is only one card-processing company in the country.
The only other bank from outside of China’s mainland that can issue credit cards there is Hong Kong’s Bank of East Asia. HSBC and Citigroup have both had horses in the race in the form of Chinese banks they’ve been supporting issuing cards. Seems Citi won this round, HSBC.
The more choices consumers have anywhere in the world for services like credit cards, the better, we say. Get ready for those free extra large T-shirts and mountains of giveaway pens, China!
Citigroup to issue China credit cards [Financial Times]